Friday, October 29, 2010

"Lean turn. Keep your knees straight. Smile, damn it!, you're on MSNBC!"

This wall of noise and unconnected imagery, brought to us courtesy of MSNBC, starts with a spoonful of treacly nonsense- "from the time we are born, we really do know where we are going" (WTF?) and goes downhill from there. It would easy for me to dissect the blithering haiku-wannabee nonsense which makes up the narration of this condescending, self-congratulatory pile of rancid BS, but instead, I think I'd like to comment on MSNBC's entire "Lean Forward" ad campaign by pointing out how badly the network lives up to it's own sense of "purpose."

"Lean Forward" could, in fact, be nothing more than the advice Your Place for Politics gives to it's female co-hosts, Mika Brzezinski ("Morning Joe") and Savannah Guthrie ("The Daily Rundown.") As in, Lean Forward to get into the camera shot, Twist your body sideways, and Smile, Smile Smile while the camera is permanently trained on the Far More Important Male Host. Also- be sure to laugh at whatever the Wise Male Hogging the Camera says, bleat "Oh No!" and "I don't want to hear about this!" (Brzezinski may have trademarked these lines by now) and do pretty much everything short of pick lint off the shoulder of the Man in Charge Who Will Let You Introduce the Next Segment if You are a Good Girl and Behave.

"Lean Forward" to find out who MSNBC hired for the newest hour-long opinion program- that is, which middle-aged white male will be filling the slot you thought you might at least be interviewed for, you silly naive little thing, you. Haha, you thought that just because the network decided to cut out one of the reruns of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and put a live show on, it might go to someone other than Lawrence O'Donnell? Why? Because you thought you'd put in your time? Don't be silly. Now stop sulking and get back to chuckling appreciatively at Joe Scarborough's "witticisms" and latest "when I was in Congress" war stories. Unless your name is Rachel Maddow, you ain't getting your own show, honey. Sure it's not the 1950s anymore, but that doesn't mean you are ready for your own desk.

Remember, this is the network which carried on an almost personal vendetta against Hillary Clinton in 2008, battering her relentlessly for her unforgivable refusal to concede defeat in the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination fifteen minutes after the results of the Iowa Caucuses were reported. Do Brzezinski and Guthrie really think that the network which rhetorically asked Hillary "how many delegates does the state of denial have?" and had it's franchise player suggest someone "take Hillary into a room, and fix it so she doesn't come out" is going to give one of them a shot at the big time? Keep dreaming.

After all, while the network embraces Evolution as a tag line, everything in it's own place, all change in it's own time, right? We can't expect TOO much from a company which essentially closes down it's operations at 10PM on Friday night to give us marathon sessions of "Lock-Up," can we?


  1. Love your blog (which I just discovered) otherwise, but you're really misquoting Keith Olbermann here and letting your obvious personal feelings about Hillary Clinton's candidacy color your opinion of him. Keith wasn't being a misogynist at all, and he never said anything about anyone "taking Hillary into a room and fixing it so she doesn't come out." What he did was question whether someone from her campaign should take Hillary into a room and have only one of them come out--and that's a situation anyone in the conventional workplace recognizes. That's the one where someone gets called into someone's office--they go in together but only one comes out, because the other is being left there a little while to deal with the unpleasant emotions being experienced after having "participated in a conversation," as goes the euphemism.

    Participating in a "conversation" in the workplace is never good. At best, it means you've been told an unpleasant truth; at worst, it means you're outta there. Keith was asking, at that point of the primary process, whether it might not be wise for someone to take Hillary Clinton into a room and share the unpleasant truth with her that she didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of securing the nomination. The two of them would go in, and only one of them would come out, because Hillary would still be in there composing herself, as they say, before emerging.

    I thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing to ask at that point. However, it wasn't long before the Republican Outrage Machine and the Hillary fan club twisted it, misquoted it and convoluted it into the Worst, Most Misogynistic, Pro-Violence-Against-Women Thing Ever Said By Anyone Ever.

    And guess what? Despite the whipped up, ridiculous hullabaloo that accused a decent man of something he never said or did, Keith decided that the way it sounded to some people was all that mattered, and that it was important that he explain he didn't mean it that way, but apologize nonetheless. And he did.

    Give the man credit. He may not be the world's sweetest employee for any network, but he's the exact opposite of a woman-hater. I mean, who do you think was responsible for helping Rachel Maddow get a show in the first place?

  2. Glad you enjoy the blog, but we'll have to agree to disagree on Olbermann. I was a big fan of his until the 2008 primaries, and I watch him often now that he's on Current, but he was disgusting in the winter/spring of 2008. Pretty much every moment of coverage was prefaced with "why doesn't she just quit" or "the math doesn't add up" or "her victories don't count, only Obama's do." I remember very clearly the "how many delegates does the State of Denial have" and when he accused Hillary of hinting that she should not drop out because Obama might be assassinated ("you never know what might happen, remember 1968..")

    It's got nothing to do with my support for Hillary Clinton. Facts are facts, and Olbermann and MSNBC failed utterly to provide fair, equal treatment to both Dem candidates in 2008.

    (By the way I like Maddow's politics, but I can't deal with her pretentious, plodding, squeaky condescension- she acts like the Adult in the Room who must lead her viewers slooooowly through the Deeply Complicated Issues because God knows we will never get it unless it's boiled down into an easily digestible pudding first.)